U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) took to the Senate floor today to urge Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to immediately schedule a vote on the Water Resources Development Act. The legislation includes a provision that would authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to begin work on the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.
Once complete, the massive reservoir project, which was included in this year’s water bill at the urging of Nelson and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), will help prevent future algae blooms in South Florida’s waterways by allowing the Corps to store more water south of the lake, instead of sending it east and west in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers.
“We should take it up and pass this bill immediately so that it can go to the White House for signature into law and so we can get to work on the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee,” Nelson said. “The reservoir is particularly important and it’s timely right now because of this algae crisis in Florida, but it’s also a critical piece of a broader Everglades restoration effort. We need additional storage so that we can move water gradually from Lake Okeechobee, clean it up, and send it south to the areas of the Everglades that are starved for freshwater.”